The EPA was destroying computer files way before those hacks at the IRS

posted at 9:31 am on June 22, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

In the midst of all the sound and fury surrounding the case of My Dog At my E-mails at the IRS, Sharyl Attkisson has dug up a little noted piece of government history which reminds us that federal agencies have plenty of experience in playing fast and loose with the rules. More than a decade ago, the EPA was found to have pulled a similar stunt, but they were far less oblique about it when caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

According to an Associated Press report, a federal judge has held the EPA in contempt for destroying computer files sought after by a conservative group: Landmark Legal Foundation…

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth had ordered the EPA on Jan. 19, 2001, at the end of the Clinton administration, to preserve all documents relevant to a Freedom of Information Act request by Landmark regarding the federal agency’s contact with outside groups. That same day, EPA Administrator Carol Browner asked a technician to delete her computer files. Browner later testified that she was unaware of the court order and simply wanted to remove some games from her work computer.

According to AP, EPA officials later admitted wiping clean the computer files from Browner and other top staff despite Lamberth’s order.

You can find the original AP report from 2003 here. The details of the story are beyond simply suspicious and quite reminiscent of the current escapades at the IRS. The judge’s initial order was issued on January 19, 2001, the day before the end of the Clinton administration. The EPA was ordered to preserve “all documents that might be relevant to a Freedom of Information Act” which had been filed by Landmark.

So what was the excuse that was given by the technician’s supervisor, aside from getting rid of some computer games?

Browner’s attorney, Robert Trout, said his client had wanted to ensure her work computer was appropriately formatted for her successor in the Bush administration.

Wasn’t that thoughtful of her? Before the new Bush folks showed up to go to work, she just wanted to give them a nice, clean workstation without all those old copies of Castlevania cluttering up the drive. And really, who can keep track of who wanted what preserved and which judge was issuing court orders? It was all so confusing!

We’ve still got more than two years to get ready for the end of the Obama administration. I wonder if a judge shouldn’t preemptively order somebody to go in a few months before the end of the term and just haul all of the computers out with a really big truck.


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Doesn’t matter. Republicans sit with their thumbs up their…..

I think we really should be asking why Boehner and his fellow RINOs work so hard at enabling the malfeasance and criminality of the Obama admin.

And please do not bandy-about “standing” etc. There is a reason that we have three branches of govt to provide checks and balances.

I see neither. Which means R’s are in on it.

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 9:38 AM

They were just protecting their agency’s environment.

Flange on June 22, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Ah! And follow up to my point earlier. Remember how the Bush admin treated Sandy Burglar? Berger stole documents from the Natl Archives related to 9-11, which the intent of destroying them (which he did). These docs most likely made Clinton admin look bad or demonstrated additional levels of culpability and/or incompetence on the part of that admin vis-a-vis 9-11.

And what sort of Justice did Berger receive? A slap on the wrist and a fine which was the equivalent of ONE speaking engagement’s fees (about $50k)

Unless a vast majority quickly realize that it’s the People v Federal government, not R’s v D’s, Red v Blue, maintaining the Republic is hopeless.

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 9:45 AM

We’ve still got more than two years to get ready for the end of the Obama administration. I wonder if a judge shouldn’t preemptively order somebody to go in a few months before the end of the term and just haul all of the computers out with a really big truck.

Yes. And the truck, which will be driven by a good Democrat Teamster, will unfortunately get into a horrific accident on the way to the storage facility. Miraculously the trucker escaped without serious injury, but the computers were damaged beyond repair.

Outlander on June 22, 2014 at 9:46 AM

The problem is that the penalty for destroying the evidence is far less than the penalty for the things they were doing wrong. Until people start going to jail for destroying this kind of evidence, this will keep on happening.

Mohonri on June 22, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Yes i remember this quite well. She found guilty of lying under oath and was put in jail…..oh wait that was scooter libby, sorry.

jaywemm on June 22, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Anybody who’s ever dealt with EPA knows the “Ha-ha, f**k you, you enemy of Holy Mother Gaia” dance.

What’s usually being covered up is the cozy relationship between EPA and environmental groups, often involving what amounts to collaboration to use the power of the state against private citizens. Including “leaking” of confidential information to said groups, the (friendly) MSM, or both.

The fact that many if not most EPA employees are members of these groups, which is why they work at EPA to begin with, just facilitates matters.

I’ve often wondered if EPA and their friends, like Sierra Club, Greenpeace, etc., could survive a RICO proceeding. My guess would be, “no”.

clear ether

eon

eon on June 22, 2014 at 9:52 AM

How in h3ll did these Democrats take down George Bush with such ease?

Are Republicans really this powerless?

My God.

HopeHeFails on June 22, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Democrats…..no moral compass…..rules are for other people…..don’t know right from wrong……partisan hacks……DC Democratic bureaucrats versus the American People

Privatize It on June 22, 2014 at 9:54 AM

From destroying and wiping hard drives to using Yahoo or Hotmail for gov. Business, you get the impression beaurocrats don’t want the people messing in their business. Peons….

can_con on June 22, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Let’s not forget Romney just said screw it, wecre taking our computers with us, when he left office.

can_con on June 22, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Browner later testified that she was unaware of the court order and simply wanted to remove some games from her work computer.

Shouldn’t she have been fired for playing games on company time?

MrsGsBoyTommy on June 22, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Yes a surprise quiz tomorrow morning and all work and computers must be turned in. This regime has taken the expression “government out of control” to a whole new level. The actual lack of accountability as opposed to the private sector is mind boggling.End govt unions now.

PS. Let’s not forget Lois Lerner is a lawyer.

tim c on June 22, 2014 at 10:03 AM

R.A. Heinlein:

In any mature society the phrase “civil servant” really means “civil master”.

There is only one way to fix bureaucracies: ELIMINATE THEM.

CrazyGene on June 22, 2014 at 10:03 AM

We’re going to see this again in 2016.

Sapience on June 22, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Bastille Day is coming. Always makes me want to storm something.

TexasDan on June 22, 2014 at 10:11 AM

From Lerners wiki
She is a member of the Massachusetts bar having earned her juris doctorate from Western New England College School of Law graduating cum laude. She completed her undergraduate studies cum laude at Northeastern University.

Lerner began her career in government as a staff attorney in the Honor’s Program at the United States Department of Justice. She served as a Special Assistant in the U.S. Attorney’s Office where she was lead counsel handling felony and misdemeanor prosecutions. In 1981, Lerner moved to the Federal Election Commission, serving as the Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement, and ultimately as the Acting General Counsel.[1]

Lerner is a past president of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) and an active member of the Humane Society of the United States where her efforts in performing pet rescues necessitated by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes were widely acknowledged.

IRS[edit]

tim c on June 22, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Doesn’t matter. Republicans sit with their thumbs up their…..

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Indeed they do. Throw the bums out!

petefrt on June 22, 2014 at 10:15 AM

maintaining the Republic is hopeless.

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 9:45 AM

That’s what I got out of what you said.

Mark Boabaca on June 22, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Lerner is a past president of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL)

tim c on June 22, 2014 at 10:14 AM

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Governmental Ethics? Now THERE is an oxymoron.

Mark Boabaca on June 22, 2014 at 10:22 AM

It is time that the masters of this government demand that all communications within the agencies be open for public view. The founders intended government to be an open forum. The more we know about the federal rat house the less we will allow them to control us.
Anyone destroying communications within or between agencies should be immediately fired and prosecuted.
We the people!!!!!!

Ufdaubet on June 22, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Unless a vast majority quickly realize that it’s the People v Federal government, not R’s v D’s, Red v Blue, maintaining the Republic is hopeless.

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 9:45 AM

I agree, but what is the path? 2 more years of leftist dictatorship and there will be nothing to salvage. If the R’s don’t do something to push against it, the only other avenue is the courts. The same courts that have been loaded with progressives or progressive wannabe’s with a couple of conservatives thrown in who may respect the Constitution. The problem with using the courts is that you.. whether it’s convenient or not.. have to have standing to file suit.

Mimzey on June 22, 2014 at 10:28 AM

So what, all the GOP can offer as punishment is the comfy chair.

This is so stupid. Laws are being broken all the way to the top, our highest officials are complicit in illegally targeting the very citizens they represent, and what happens, everyone from all Parties run around in circles for a while and that’s it.

There’s only one way to break this cycle, broom the entire lot and start over because the people in charge will never enact restraints or punishments on themselves.

Bishop on June 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Unless a vast majority quickly realize that it’s the People v Federal government, not R’s v D’s, Red v Blue, maintaining the Republic is hopeless.

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 9:45 AM

That’s completely true. However, when Repubs are in charge, then at least the press will sometimes do their jobs in holding parts of the government accountable. When Dems are in charge, the press goes into full enabler mode.

juliesa on June 22, 2014 at 10:35 AM

There’s only one way to break this cycle, broom the entire lot and start over because the people in charge will never enact restraints or punishments on themselves.

Bishop on June 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM

And how do you propose to do that? Do you think that the financial lifelines to these politicians are going to ever let that happen?

The real 1% is the oligarchy entrenched in out system, the Political Class. They are joined at the hip with the lobbyist, national and international businesses and the feeding troughs of public money.

It doesn’t matter who you send to DC, they either will play ball with the Political Class or else they we be sent packing in 4 years or forced to become ineffectual.

Show me how we break through all that?

Walter L. Newton on June 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM

There’s only one way to break this cycle, broom the entire lot and start over because the people in charge will never enact restraints or punishments on themselves.

Bishop on June 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM

I’ve often said, half in jest, that Todd Beamer et.al did us no favors by stopping that 4th plane from hitting the Capitol. And the fact that I had to think twice about posting the previous sentence speaks volumes to how far this administration has burrowed into the psyches of all Americans, fearing being spied upon and punished for “bad” thoughts or opinions.

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Republicans sat on their hands because Landmark Legal Foundation’s president is constitutional conservative Mark Levin, former chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese, duh! The corrupt Bush Mafia didn’t give a chit. Reaganites ain’t their thang.

Jayrae on June 22, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Walter L. Newton on June 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM

I have no clue, merely saying that’s the only way it will ever happen.

A spontaneous national movement will never occur because over half the people of this nation rely on the other half to pay their bills, they will never join.

So I don’t know, some sort of states-rights rebellion perhaps? Whatever, we’ve already tipped past the breaking point with the aforementioned freeloading 51%, all that’s left now is winding our way to the eventual crash.

Bishop on June 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth had ordered the EPA on Jan. 19, 2001, at the end of the Clinton administration, to preserve all documents relevant to a Freedom of Information Act request by Landmark regarding the federal agency’s contact with outside groups.

Landmark Legal is Mark Levin’s group. He talked about this on his show Friday night. The GOP could have gone into Federal Court and gotten a similar protective order when the IRS investigation first began.

TarheelBen on June 22, 2014 at 10:52 AM

I have no clue, merely saying that’s the only way it will ever happen.

A spontaneous national movement will never occur because over half the people of this nation rely on the other half to pay their bills, they will never join.

So I don’t know, some sort of states-rights rebellion perhaps? Whatever, we’ve already tipped past the breaking point with the aforementioned freeloading 51%, all that’s left now is winding our way to the eventual crash.

Bishop on June 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Where I differ with folks like Bernie Sanders or most of the personalities that show up in The Nation is that I don’t believe Socialism is the answer to the problem. But a lot of us are not far away from our “friends” on the far left, we are actually starting to think alike on issues, but we are far apart on solutions.

Walter L. Newton on June 22, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Shouldn’t she have been fired for playing games on company time?
MrsGsBoyTommy on June 22, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Those rules only apply to us serfs.

Closet Optimist on June 22, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Mark stays busy

Perfect gig for Erika when she completes school.

wolly4321 on June 22, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Big government is corrupt government is fascist government. Government shouldn’t be in the business of giving you benefits.

rbj on June 22, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Isn’t that sort of thing, well, illegal?

How in h3ll did these Democrats take down George Bush with such ease?

Are Republicans really this powerless?

The Whigs want to be invited to all the cool parties.

formwiz on June 22, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Shredding Party. January 19, 2017. Please RSVP

iurockhead on June 22, 2014 at 11:04 AM

….. And the fact that I had to think twice about posting the previous sentence speaks volumes to how far this administration has burrowed into the psyches of all Americans, fearing being spied upon and punished for “bad” thoughts or opinions.

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 10:42 AM

“We cannot let a minority of people — and that’s what it is, a minority of people — hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people,” –Hilldabeast

iurockhead on June 22, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Better start starving the dog. That’s a LOT of paper to eat. Poor thing will be crapping confetti and dealing with anal paper cuts for years…

Kraken on June 22, 2014 at 11:14 AM

We’ve still got more than two years to get ready for the end of the Obama administration. I wonder if a judge shouldn’t preemptively order somebody to go in a few months before the end of the term and just haul all of the computers out with a really big truck.

That’s cute Jazz.

In the era of the NSA sweeping up everything digital the files are either locked away already, or easily wiped in milliseconds. Before the trucks even arrive.

Obama and his minions know it, and are thumbing their collective noses at us and you.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 22, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Face it, kids, the Ds have nearly every single media source on their sides in a big way.
No matter what happens, the lo-fos hear NOTHING or a warped, sanitized version that somehow blames Rs.

It’s a hopeless, lose-lose situation, we are counting on enough young Zero voters to have grown a brain while sittin in moms basement playing WoW for the past 5-1/2 years, jobless.

Oh oh

Tard on June 22, 2014 at 11:33 AM

we are actually starting to think alike on issues, but we are far apart on solutions. Walter L. Newton on June 22, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Then it doesn’t really matter what you agree on. Every solution they propose makes the problem even worse. I get your point. Understand it. But it’s meaningless. The ideological divide matters.

If fact, it’s all that matters.

I agree with Bishop. States taking back power is probably the only way. Sooner or later some Governor is going to have to grow brass balz.

And just maybe it will become contagious.

wolly4321 on June 22, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Heh,, Snowden may end up being the only way posterity even knows the Obama administration existed.

WryTrvllr on June 22, 2014 at 11:49 AM

It doesn’t matter who you send to DC, they either will play ball with the Political Class or else they we be sent packing in 4 years or forced to become ineffectual.

Show me how we break through all that?

Walter L. Newton on June 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM

For starters, stop sending ANYONE to DC. Make legislators stay in their respective state capitals. If we can vote by machine, they can hold their hearings and vote by machine too.

And, yes, of course they;ll fight that tooth and nail. It really is time for a constitutional convention.

WryTrvllr on June 22, 2014 at 11:57 AM

A spontaneous national movement will never occur because over half the people of this nation rely on the other half to pay their bills, they will never join.

So I don’t know, some sort of states-rights rebellion perhaps? Whatever, we’ve already tipped past the breaking point with the aforementioned freeloading 51%, all that’s left now is winding our way to the eventual crash.

Bishop on June 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Hope may lie in the fact that only about 10% of proto-Americans physically or financially supported the First Revolution.

We don’t need a majority to act, but we do need a majority to stay on the couch and not act against us them Second Revolution guyz.

Dolce Far Niente on June 22, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Lerner is a past president of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) and an active member of the Humane Society of the United States where her efforts in performing pet rescues necessitated by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes were widely acknowledged.

IRS[edit]

tim c on June 22, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Remember- its Wiki. So…Lerner fluffing fail.

Lois Lerner’s magnificent pet rescue efforts (if they existed) could not have been as a result of or attributable to her membership in the Humane Society of the United States. which is a fund-raising organization which does no pet rescue, shelter maintainence, rehabilitation or any physical work with animals at all.

But certainly of a piece with her membership in an ethics council.

Dolce Far Niente on June 22, 2014 at 12:13 PM

There is only one way to fix bureaucracies: ELIMINATE THEM.

CrazyGene on June 22, 2014 at 10:03 AM

To the point and well said. I agree.

Governmental Ethics? Now THERE is an oxymoron.

Mark Boabaca on June 22, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Government has ethics. It’s primary ethic is that only people outside of the government bureaucracy should follow the government’s ethical expectations!

‘Rules for thee, not for me,’ says [random government bureaucrat]

xNavigator on June 22, 2014 at 12:26 PM

So many e-mails, so little time. Perhaps we should put out the order now so they can actually devote time to work and not worry about deleting e-mails.

bflat879 on June 22, 2014 at 12:55 PM

OT but very important

Schadenfreude on June 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Shredding Party. January 19, 2017. Please RSVP

iurockhead on June 22, 2014 at 11:04 AM

…and hammers…for the hard drives!

JugEarsButtHurt on June 22, 2014 at 1:46 PM

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 9:38 AM

This. The GOPe doesn’t care about liberty and servingwith the consent of the governed people. They want to preserve the status quo and manage the bureacratic apparatus in the notion that they can rule us better than the dems. Either party is for the crony corporatist state. Both did not like Reagan or even Newt since them having their way would necessarily diminish the power structure.

AH_C on June 22, 2014 at 1:56 PM

We don’t need a majority to act, but we do need a majority to stay on the couch and not act against us them Second Revolution guyz.
Dolce Far Niente on June 22, 2014 at 12:06 PM

True. Unfortunately, the majority did not have skin in the game back then. They were going to do whatever they were doing regardless of who was in charge. Now, the majority does have skin to maintain their govt cheese. Question is how to keep them on the couch and not take to the streets rioting when the ebts and Obamaphones quit working?

2nd look at decriminalizing all drugs and making meth an clean otc drug? That’ll keep them on the couch.

AH_C on June 22, 2014 at 2:04 PM

However, when Repubs are in charge, then at least the press will sometimes do their jobs in holding parts of the government accountable. When Dems are in charge, the press goes into full enabler mode.

juliesa on June 22, 2014 at 10:35 AM

This is an excellent argument for electing Republicans. With them, the media will do their contitutionally recognized job of keeping the government honest and on their toes. Here’s your slogan:

“If want government held accountable by the media, elect a Republican.”

KW64 on June 22, 2014 at 2:05 PM

I’ve often said, half in jest, that Todd Beamer et.al did us no favors by stopping that 4th plane from hitting the Capitol. And the fact that I had to think twice about posting the previous sentence speaks volumes to how far this administration has burrowed into the psyches of all Americans, fearing being spied upon and punished for “bad” thoughts or opinions.
MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Concur. Look at the history of the Israelites and how every time they turned from God (morality) they had to be forced down to their knees and subjected to alien forces before they could recover. Only to do it all over again a few generations later. How long if ever before we recover? I kind of doubt we can ever recover if the flame of liberty is extinguished. We will end up like Russia, tasting liberty then pining for the strong state. More so when American values are diluted by corrupt multi-kulti values brought in by immigrants only intersted in getting their share of gimmes and not interested in adopting our fundamental values.

AH_C on June 22, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Oh, and in another remarkable coincidence – the IRS did not renew the contract with Sonasoft after the alleged hard drive crash on the PC used by Lois Lerner.

corona79 on June 22, 2014 at 2:55 PM

The Federal Records Act carries a mandatory five year sentence for each record not properly preserved.

Unfortunately, the five-year statute of limitations will expire for Lerner, Flax, and the others just before the new President takes the oath in another 942 days.

However, anything from last year on will still be live, with time to prosecute.

Adjoran on June 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM

I’ve often said, half in jest, that Todd Beamer et.al did us no favors by stopping that 4th plane from hitting the Capitol. And the fact that I had to think twice about posting the previous sentence speaks volumes to how far this administration has burrowed into the psyches of all Americans, fearing being spied upon and punished for “bad” thoughts or opinions.

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 10:42 AM

The fact that you ‘thought’ twice before posting it shows you’re an idiot! There’s a huge difference between being frustrated with our politicians, and the process.

It’s entirely different to wish death on many innocent people and the destruction of our Capitol building. That’s not a “bad” thought, that’s the product of a crazed mind.

I think you should change your screen name to ‘FoggyBrain’.

It’s idiot libertarian/anarchistic/conspiracist loons like you that bring any discussion down into the mud.

ZeusGoose on June 22, 2014 at 3:35 PM

If the government really wanted to fix this, then it’s simple – full records retention policy! Only allow employees to work off of server-based email (local replicas allowed for off site employees) and have the servers fully imaged by a third party company. No deletion allowed. I worked for a major IT firm for 14 years and I could, with a few keystrokes, retrieve any email from my entire service history.

powerpickle on June 22, 2014 at 3:40 PM

I see neither. Which means R’s are in on it.

MistyLane on June 22, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Yeah, as tempting as it is to fall back on the old “Obama sucks” (well, true, but…) thing, I’m pretty sure this jazz has been going on back before we ever heard of Obama.

But I would say that the problem has indeed worsened exponentially under the present administration? The VAs had problems before, but nothing like this that I can recall.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 22, 2014 at 8:58 PM

I wonder if a judge shouldn’t preemptively order somebody to go in a few months before the end of the term and just haul all of the computers out with a really big truck.

Might be the only way to keep from having to buy new keyboards because the old ones are all missing their “O” keys….

So I don’t know, some sort of states-rights rebellion perhaps? Whatever, we’ve already tipped past the breaking point with the aforementioned freeloading 51%, all that’s left now is winding our way to the eventual crash.

Bishop on June 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM

If we can secure the portion that *is* ticked enough in a critical mass in certain states, then perhaps something can be done. Concur that we are past the tipping point – notice they don’t have to push anymore to do this sort of stuff?

GWB on June 23, 2014 at 10:05 AM

We’ve still got more than two years to get ready for the end of the Obama administration. I wonder if a judge shouldn’t preemptively order somebody to go in a few months before the end of the term and just haul all of the computers out with a really big truck.

We might as well get busy now. After all, it will take that long to tabulate and compile all of the shenanigans to this point. I’m all for the guillotine and public executions. As far as that goes, circumstantial evidence works for me.

geezerintraining on June 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Since the Browner fiasco in 2008, the EPA has been required to remove and store every single hard drive from every single computer when it is taken out of service. When a computer is retired, the hard drive is removed and archived, and the rest of the machine is scrapped.

So, the hard drive that “crashed” leading to these missing emails being reported today should be sitting on a shelf at EPA HQ along with about 100,000 others. If that particular hard drive is missing, when all the other hard drives are there, that will be even more proof that this information is being intentionally destroyed.

Haiku Guy on June 25, 2014 at 6:32 PM